On the up · 20 January 2016

NIX&KIX: Spicing up soft drinks, one independent caf? at a time

Julia Kessler and Kerstin Robinson, founders of NIX&KIX
Sick of having nothing to satisfy them when they didnt want alcohol in a bar, the founders of drinks brand NIX&KIX experimented with chillI and found a solution to the dilemma.

In just 12 months theyve gone from producing drinks in their kitchen to selling thousands of units a month. Business Advice spoke to them to find out how theyd achieved this.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

We are Julia Kessler and Kerstin Robinson, founders of NIX&KIX. We make grown-up soft drinks with a cayenne pepper kick.

(2) How long have you been around for?

We both quit our corporate jobs about a year ago, and we came up with the current drinks range in September, after a lot of experimenting with flavours. Weve now got three flavours: Rich Mango & Zingy Ginger, Cool Cucumber & Fresh Mint and Succulent Peach & Smooth Vanilla. they’re all very different drinks bold, refreshing, and something you won’t get bored of.

(3) How do you make money?

We sell the drinks to coffee shops, delis, bars and restaurants any business that’s looking to stock something a bit different. Some of our stockists are small chains with up to ten stores, but most are independents, and were adding more all the time. Weve deliberately targeted places more interesting than your average supermarket they’re much more open to the product.

(4) What makes your company different and why should people take notice?

ChillI gives you a great endorphin high, similar to that which you get after a workout. You think: wow, I want more of this. That can make our drinks a great alternative to alcohol. There are loads of health benefits from it too. But the best thing about the drinks is the way you first taste the great flavour and then get the cayenne kick.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

I think money was key. We secured funding through the government’s Start Up Loans scheme which was invaluable. But having a vision was also really important. There have been lots of ups and downs and knowing what were aiming for has got us through them. it’s helped that there are two of us as well. When you’re having a bad day, usually the other person is having a better one, which helps a lot.


(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

Weve won a couple of awards which were quite proud of. In November we won Best New Beverage Concept at theworld Beverage Innovation Awards in Germany, which was really exciting.

It has also felt like a huge achievement that people have wanted to work for us. Weve taken a couple of employees on to do sales and marketing, but there have also been people speculatively contacting us wanting to work for us which felt like a big achievement.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?



Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics as well as running a tutoring company.

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